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Team Ada: Ada Programming Language Advocacy


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Sender: "Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Sat, 7 Dec 2002 19:00:11 -0500
Reply-To: Michael Feldman <[log in to unmask]>
From: Michael Feldman <[log in to unmask]>
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In-Reply-To: <[log in to unmask]> from "Luke(Lujun) Zhang" at Dec 07, 2002 03:13:07 PM
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[said Luke]
> School education can't give students all of the skills
> and languages for future job. Most skills should be
> learned during real work experience. My opinion is
> that school education teaches students the idea on how
> to use those languages and skills in a systematic way,
> not only remember the syntax. For those schools
> adopting Ada as a foundation language, the purpose is
> not only to teach students Ada has different syntax
> from C++.

Right. In fact, the language should be seen as just a
vehicle to teach the fundamentals, namely the algorithms,
data structures, and design techniques that don't change
when the products change. And, the students must learn
how to learn, so their education is good for a whole
career, not just a co-op or a first job.
> So Rational Rose and UML would be an excellent class
> for school education. I learned and used them in
> several of my classes. But from my point, I like to
> learn WebSphere/Weblogic/IPlanet during my job, not
> school education.
> Luke Zhang
I have no problem teaching some product-related skills -
after all, our languages and tools are the things we must
use to build practical, usable stuff. On the other hand,
we have to keep our perspective. Many of the job ads,
and (sadly) many of my friends in industry, ask which
tools the students know. They should be asking how
fast the students can learn the tools and practices in
that workplace, and how willing the students are to
learn them.

I'm teaching my students to design buildings, and my
industry friends are (often) more concerned with the model
of hammer and drill they can use. Universities are not
carpentry schools. In my switch from Ada to Java, not
cery much is changing in my courses, except that we've
gone from a Makita drill to a Black & Decker one.

Graduates who can't *think* and design are just hackers,
whether they are hacking in code or in UML.

Mike Feldman